In the Mood for... Shopping, Dining, Love - How Music Affects your Emotions.

What’s your song for love, is it the deep voice of Barry White or the warblings of James Blunt, while personal preference is absolutely key, there is also a lot of science on why some songs you play put you in the mood for romance and why the same tracks make others roll their eyes with scorn? Some would say James Blunt is in the latter category, but four million sales say otherwise (another plus - he may be the funniest singer on Twitter).

In the Mood for... Shopping, Dining, Love - How Music Affects your Emotions
In the Mood for... Shopping, Dining, Love - How Music Affects your Emotions

So, while you're listening your brain is firing a series of neurological reactions that create real emotions and it's not just a Valentine's Day phenomenon.

Psychology Today published a study from McGill University which showed how music can trigger the release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is the ‘happy’ chemical that is usually released when we sleep or eat and is one of our body’s ways of rewarding us. It’s pleasing to discover that your granny was wrong all along - listening to music is good for you! It’s also been noted that singing can release the ‘hug hormone’ oxytocin which increases the positive feelings we associate with music. Yet again your out of tune sing-a-longs are beneficial to your health you shiny happy people.

It's not just your hormones that flow while you're listening, you have a physical reaction too (we will be keeping it clean here!). You know that feeling of your hairs standing on end when you hear a certain song? It's got a name - frisson. Researchers at Wesleyan University studied the subject and investigated the phenomenon in detail. Now you know how to describe that feeling you get when you listen to a certain track and you feel overwhelmed by feelings of love. This is why couples often have their song, the one that they first listened to, the reminder of the feeling when they first got together.

It turns out that we’ve evolved to react to music in this way - this article from Australia’s ABC News discusses the response in detail . Dr Sandra Garrido, a postdoctoral research fellow at Western Sydney University, who says, "We are evolutionarily programmed to respond to particular cues in the human voice and to perceive them as expressing particular emotions … And when those same features occur in music, we respond to that in the same way, [it's] as if it were a person in front of us doing that." That’s why when you hear a track that has a ‘romantic’ tone you start to feel that way too. Whether it’s Neil Hannon of the Divine Comedy telling us about his memories of the ‘Indie Disco,’ ‘All of Me’ by John Legend (OK – anything by John Legend) or ‘Countdown’ by Beyonce´ – these songs have the power to take us back to a certain point in time and evoke that feeling of love.

That’s not all though - music can influence the way that we look at someone. Scientific American published an article that discovered that music could have an impact on the way that you view a photograph - the ‘happier’ the music, the more positive the image appears. So, the music you hear on a date may make you view the target of your affections in an even more positive way. Because our brains like patterns we create associations with the music that we hear, and the emotion felt at the time - hence people choosing the song that was playing when they met for the first dance at their wedding.

What does this have to do with the music in retail spaces or restaurants? Well, the simple fact that music creates such an emotional response means that it’s a deeply personal thing and what sounds wonderful to you can sound dreadful to your customers. Our music curators are experienced in creating outstanding audio landscapes for everyone from large supermarket chains to the smallest cafes. Their professional ear removes the emotional aspect that can overtake you when you create your own playlist. There are of course other benefits - we check every track that comes into the library for material that might upset customers, and because we’re working away at creating and updating your music it means that there’s one less thing for you to worry about.

As you might have guessed we'd love to talk to you about your music and what we can do for you - whether you're just looking to update your playlist or are looking for a new supplier - and because we love music so much we've put together a couple of playlists for you for Valentine's Day - click here for our modern love playlist - and here for classic romance. If you love what you hear give us a call on 321-804-8804 - it could be the start of a great relationship!

 / By Charlotte Brett, UK

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